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A second season of Squid Game is officially in development at Netflix, but it could be a while before we see the hit South Korean series make its grand return to the world of streaming. In the meantime, fans can continue to dissect every last detail of the first season, particularly its open-ended conclusion, which — according to creator/writer/director Hwang Dong-hyuk — could have ended a bit differently.
"We actually wrestled between two different scenarios for the ending," the filmmaker said via a translator during a conversation with Entertainment Weekly. "There was one, the other alternate ending, where Gi-hun would get on the plane and leave. And then there was, of course, the one where he would turn back and walk towards the camera. We constantly asked ourselves, 'Is it really right for Gi-hun to make the decision to leave and go see his family, to pursue his own happiness? Is that the right way for us to really propose the question or the message that we wanted to convey through the series?'"
In the end, Dong-hyuk settled on a note of ambiguity, stating: "We came to the conclusion that the question that we wanted to propose cannot be done if he left on the plane. The question that we want to answer — 'Why has the world come to what it is now?' — can only be answered or can only be proposed if Gi-hun turned back and walked towards the camera. So that's how we ended up with that ending in the finale."
With the show becoming an overnight success beyond his wildest dreams, Dong-hyuk is definitely a little nervous when it comes to crafting a sophomore outing that is as good, if not better, than the first.
"We got so much more love and support and encouragement than we could have ever expected, so I do admit there's a huge level of pressure that comes with it," he admitted.
One thing he wants to be cognizant of moving forward is how the audience hones in on and interprets minutiae that has no bearing on the larger narrative or themes.
"Sometimes they'll take little details that were actually mistakes or some happy coincidences and really interpret it to their liking," he explained. "So I learned and really felt that I'm really going to have to pay more attention to the details. I will not make any mistakes, no matter how small they may be. Through the next season, if there was one, I would try to bring more joy to the fans, and maybe more Easter eggs to put in there."
Season 1 of Squid Game is now streaming on Netflix.